More allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault continue to rock Hollywood, and the latest celeb to be hit by accusations is music mogul Russell Simmons.
In a bombshell report in the Los Angeles Times, model Keri Claussen Khalighi claims that back in 1991, when she was just 17, Simmons forced her to have sex with him while director Brett Ratner (himself the subject of numerous allegations of sexual assault) watched it take place.
According to Khalighi, she agreed to accompany Simmons and Ratner to an apartment in order to watch a music video they had co-produced — or so she thought.
Immediately after they arrived, she alleges that Simmons made “aggressive sexual advances” and began pulling off her clothing.
“I looked over at Brett and said ‘help me’ and I’ll never forget the look on his face,” she tells the Times. “In that moment, the realization fell on me that they were in it together.”
According to her account, Khalighi recalls that Simmons (who was approximately twice her age at the time of the alleged incident) began to force her to have sex with him. “I fought it wildly,” she alleges, adding that Simmons “eventually relented” and then insisted she instead perform oral sex on him. “I guess I just acquiesced,” she admits.
While all this was happening, she claims, Ratner “just sat there and watched.”
Simmons released a statement addressing Khalighi’s allegations, claiming that “everything that happened between us 26 years ago was completely consensual and with Keri’s full participation.”
The Times also spoke with Ratner’s attorney, Marty Singer, who said his client has “no recollection” of Khalighi asking for help. Ratner, by the way, has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge.
In addition, the Times also reminds that Ratner and Simmons were the subjects of a 2001 police investigation after they were accused of sexual battery in 2001, but no charges were ultimately filed.
Here is Simmons’ statement in its entirety.
As a long-time social activist, I have applauded the strength of the brave men and women who have spoken out over the past month and made their voices heard regarding sexual assault and harassment. I am a supporter of the #MeToo campaign and the victims who were previously terrified to stand up and speak out against sexual misconduct. I completely and unequivocally deny the horrendous allegations of non-consensual sex against me with every fiber of my being.
I know Keri Claussen Khalighi and remember the weekend in 1991 that she has referenced. Everything that happened between us 26 years ago was completely consensual and with Keri’s full participation. We spent time in my apartment over a period of two days and one night, as well as at some public places including Nell’s Nightclub. Much of the time we were in the presence of other acquaintances. I’m deeply saddened and truly shocked to learn of Keri’s assertions as to what happened over the course of that weekend.
Let me be crystal clear and very direct. Abusing women in any way shape or form violates the very core of my being. I have always spoken out regarding my life experiences, women’s issues and the need to bring a faster and more decisive shift in the collective consciousness that will help bring about true women’s equality. More than anything, I want my daughters to live in a more equal world and a world where they will not become victims of sexual harassment.
The LA Times article also references an allegation by Ms. Tanya Reid. I mean no disrespect to her at all when I say I honestly do not recall my telephone conversation with a hotel front desk clerk from over a quarter-century ago.